Countries are looking for fossil fuel alternatives that can get somewhere near the density of gasoline but with less impact on the global ecosystem. Among the most promising contenders for mainstream alternative energy production, especially on alternative science media sites like Science 2.0, is hydrogen – but that increasingly appears to be an unlikely candidate.
Low energy conversion efficiency weakens the case for hydrogen as a commercial fuel. Hydrogen requires one-too-many conversions to be as efficient as electricity (water to hydrogen to electricity), as opposed to a simple fuel to electricity conversion.
As battery technologies improve in quality and decrease in price, the viability of hydrogen as an energy carrier falls further. It would be both easier and cheaper to store energy as electricity in a battery than hydrogen in a compressed tank.
"The process to extract hydrogen from water – electrolysis – is a net-loss equation that consumes more energy than the hydrogen it extracts can generate," said Frost&Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Pramod Dibble. "It is very difficult to store hydrogen, as it leaks out from almost any containment vessel. Although compressed hydrogen leaks much less than at atmospheric pressure, the act of compression requires about 2 percent of the usable energy in the hydrogen, which is already less by volume than fossil fuel sources.
"All these reasons together constrain the use of hydrogen to niche applications such as a liquid in rocket fuel. Unless there is a dramatic scientific breakthrough, hydrogen will remain an ill-suited alternative energy source in the 21st century."
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Quantum Teleportation 25 Kilometers Away
- BICEP2's vision wasn't that strong, Planck says their window was too dusty.
- 30 Years Left To Reach The Limit: CO2 Emissions Will Reach New Record High In 2014
- Graphene Sensor Tracks Down Cancer Biomarkers
- Why Natural Gas, Including Fracking, Is Better For The Environment Than Wind And Solar
- Global Carbon Report: Emissions Will Hit New Heights In 2014
- John Ellis On The Ascent Of The Standard Model
- "Sorry to say it PD, but you look very confused to me. The model has been the samesince the late..."
- "Don't believe it. Global warming due to man made activity is bunk. The science does not support it...."
- "No, I have no doubts that your Lagrangian math is sound and all of the equations balance, this..."
- "I suppose when all you can see is political bias, it stands to reason that you would interpret..."
- " Actually that's a pretty good misrepresentation of the studies. Thanks for contributing more nonsense..."
- Mothers of children with autism less likely to have taken iron supplements
- Research evaluates neurodevelomental and medical outcomes in single family room NICU
- E-cigarettes unhelpful in smoking cessation among cancer patients
- UTHealth researchers study impact of smoking ban in homeless shelter
- Teens' neural response to food commercials predicts future weight gain